2 Field Technicians for Western Scrub-Jay / Oak dispersal project
update #1: job posted on 6/08/2016. Both positions available
update #2: [ 6/23/2016] I have received over 50 applications and am no longer accepting new applications. If you applied before 6/23/2016, you will be notified about the next step soon.
UPDATE 3#: the position has been filled as of 7/10/2016
Two field assistants are needed for a study of the behavioral ecology of the role of Western Scrub-Jays as seed dispersers and seed predators for oaks at the Hastings Reserve in upper Carmel Valley, California. Hastings is run by the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, UC Berkeley. The current research focuses on the context-dependence of species interactions. Assistants will be involved in capturing and marking individual jays, monitoring foraging and social behavior, as well as experimental manipulations of acorn crops. Other duties will include vegetation sampling, seed abundance surveys and recording of field experiments. There is also the opportunity to conduct a small-scale independent study, supervised by the lead investigator. The experience is designed to be one of total immersion six days per week. The position runs from September 1st, 2016 to the end of November 2016 (or potentially mid-December; with some flexibility on start and end dates, depending on the year's acorn crop). A modest stipend of $600 / month plus free housing is provided.
Applications will be reviewed upon receipt and the positions will remain open until filled. If interested, apply sooner rather than later. Our positions usually fill quickly. Please include the following in your application: a resumé (one page resumés are discouraged - please provide detailed descriptions of your academic, volunteer, and professional experiences); a cover letter describing why you should be considered for one of our positions; the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of at least three academic / professional references (preferably ones familiar with your ability to conduct field work); and the dates you are available to work at the Hastings Reserve. For further information - and to see whether the positions have been filled, please consult our employment web site: http://www.mariopesendorfer.com/employment.htm Applications should be sent as attachments by email to Dr. Mario Pesendorfer at email@example.com
Must be an avid hiker who is comfortable hiking up and down hills. Prior experience with birds (especially the ability to read color bands, and to record behavior continuously) is desirable but not required. Self-motivation, enthusiasm for the research questions, a willingness to sit in a blind for up to 3 hours per session (in hot or cold weather with annoying face flies), and an ability to tackle the rigors of field work are a must. We especially encourage those applicants interested in behavioral ecology that are planning to attend graduate school. Because the field site is 1 hour from town, having a car is highly desirable.
EXTRA INFORMATION: The main goal of this research project is to quantify the seed dispersal that scatter-hoarding jays provide to oaks. We will track individual trees and their acorn crops, as well as individual jays, in order to determine the role of acorn crop size in determining key seed dispersal parameters. The three main parameters are dispersal rate, distance and arrival in suitable habitat. Furthermore, we will monitor acorn removal rates by Acorn Woodpeckers (waka!), as well as rodents of different size. Finally, we will also manipulate the acorn crops of some trees, as well as plant acorn manually to determine seed and seedling survival in different habitat types.
The work will involve lots of hiking, lots of sitting and staring at birds, but also tree-climbing, vegetation surveys, acorn measuring etc. Hastings has an abundance of poison oak (Toxicodendron spp.) and people that react strongly will likely find the experience less enjoyable. I am a team player, even as a leader, and seek people that share my excitement for species interactions, corvids, oaks, seed dispersal and context-dependence.